Facebook and Email: Brand Extension Lacks Permission or Purpose

Facebook’s launch of a new email client runs smack-dab into brand problems:

1) Facebook lacks consumer trust:
It seems like every week, Facebook faces charges of releasing unauthorized user data or of making sneaky changes to user settings to exploit information on users without permission. How many people will trust Facebook with their email contact lists?

2) Facebook’s brand is about wasting time, not productivity:
All Facebook, the authoritative blog about Facebook strategy, functions, uses, points out that “Facebook would be suddenly moving into the world of productivity, something which until now has been the antithesis of Facebook.” Time wasting on Facebook is such that over 3000 people like Ziploc and connect to get tips on using plastic bags!

Facebook Email Client
3) Facebook has a product that doesn’t address a need:
You can already send messages to people on Facebook. You already have a choice of hundreds of perfectly good email clients. What is the need is not already being addressed? People complain of being “too connected”–having to check voicemail, text messages, Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, email, etc. Is there a burning need to swap one of these out or add to them?

Facebook’s brand doesn’t include trust or productivity, so it lacks permission to extend to offering an email client. The lack of product purpose further un-clinches the deal.

Update:
Check out the comment thread on the Huffington Post. Get past the bashing of Jeffrey Zuckerberg, and the response is overwhelmingly negative for Facebook in the trust department.

3 comments to Facebook and Email: Brand Extension Lacks Permission or Purpose

  • Justin Francis

    I would NEVER trust Facebook with my real information, that’s why all of my information is fake, only my friends know who I’m exactly who I am. That’s the safest.

  • LDMerriam

    I wonder how many people agree with you. My informal poll is 100% against trusting Facebook, but my sample is not statistically valid, so I can’t draw conclusions.

  • Sarah Farrand

    For certain consumer segments, the use of Facebook messaging is overtaking the use of email. To me it’s a logical brand extension, and has the potential for Facebook to increase market share of the written communication market. While it’s arguable that a segment of Facebook users do not trust Facebook, these consumers are still users…

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